Apps at Aphasia Camp
I just got back from an amazing weekend at the Sea to Sky Aphasia Camp! The camp consisted of over 30 people with aphasia (ages 26-86) along with family, staff, and volunteers lodging amongst the mountains of beautiful Squamish, British Columbia. The weekend blended traditional camp activities such as fishing and archery with less traditional activities like Zumba and iPad sessions, all geared toward living successfully with aphasia.
It was my honor to be invited to the camp as the technology consultant. I was able to meet one-on-one with 13 of the campers throughout the weekend on how to use the iPhone or iPad to help reach their goals. Four campers were already using iPhones and two had their own iPads; the remainder were interested in buying an iPad or iPhone to start using apps. Campers' goals for learning about apps focused on improving speech, writing, reading, and intensity of therapy. Most people without devices were more interested in the iPad tablet for the bigger screen, but a few (mostly younger campers with better eyesight) wanted the portability of the phone. I showed each person apps I felt would help them reach their goals, leaving them with a written list of the apps we had looked at and deemed a good fit.
Campers who owned devices showed me how they were already using them. Some of the apps and features most commonly used were:
As the developer of several of these apps, I must admit I was thrilled when a few campers/families came in raving about the Tactus Therapy apps. I was able to show users how to adjust the settings to customize the difficulty, and they were able to show me how they used the apps and describe features they hoped to see in future updates.
App recommendations for campers ranged from speech-specific apps to mainstream games to challenge non-verbal reasoning skills. One man using the iPhone was thrilled when I showed him Speak It! to read his messages aloud in a male voice instead of the default female voice. Another camper appreciated learning about Doodle Buddy to have a virtual notepad for jotting down words when he was without pen or paper. A sample of other apps that ended up on campers' app "prescriptions" include:
The iOS app sessions were a successful new addition to camp this year and will be returning next year. I'll be presenting a webinar in November to discuss these apps more in-depth--watch ADVANCE for Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists for details.